Jules Bianchi said he was feeling positive about the season ahead after sampling his new Marussia for the first time in Barcelona.
The Frenchman spent a full day on track at Catalunya on Saturday having only signed up to replace Luiz Razia on Friday evening, managing 74 laps and outpacing the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde in the process.
Bianchi is back on track this morning [Sunday] before handing the car over to Max Chilton for the afternoon, with the former Force India
reserve saying he was pleased with the way his time with the team had started.
“The past 24 hours have passed by so quickly, having signed for my new team and tested our new car in such a short space of time,” he said. “Today [Saturday] has been pretty busy but we have been very fortunate to have dry weather, warm conditions, a reliable day and plenty of mileage, so in many ways I couldn't have asked for more on my first day in the MR02.
“Perhaps the only disappointment is not getting a clean shot at my run on the Supersoft tyre at the end as the Red Flag frustrated things for us. That would have put the whole day's work into context I think and I could have brought everything I have learned together into a single lap.
“However, I have learned such a lot about the car and the team, so I am happy and looking forward to another half day in the car tomorrow morning. My thanks to the team for a big welcome and for working so hard into the night to create the seat and have everything ready for me today. I feel very positive for Australia and the rest of the season. ”
Team boss John Booth was also pleased with the way in which Bianchi had performed on his first outing in the car, given the rushed nature of the lead-up to his debut appearance.
“It was certainly a very good start to Jules' career with the Marussia F1 Team, albeit one that came at rather short notice,” he said. “The whole team was incredibly well-organised last night and got Jules comfortable in the car quite quickly, which resulted in a seamless day of testing.
“Jules hit the ground running this morning and was quickly giving us good feedback to help with the development process with the new car and we have achieved a good day's running. We are rapidly coming to the end of our winter testing programme with the MR02 and we have made good progress over the last few weeks with both car and team. However, there is still much to do to ensure we are as prepared as we need to be before the first race.”